In Mark 6 Jesus sent out his 12 disciples on a short term mission trip into different villages and communities to preach and minister to people. Verse 7 tells us that he sent them out 2 by 2 and “gave them authority over impure spirits”. He told them to take nothing with them on this mission trip… no extra clothes, no food and no money — just the clothes that they were wearing. When I think of how many suitcases I once took on a mission trip with 90 people I have a hard time not being envious. No VBS materials! No tools for building! You MUST be joking.
Jesus’ purpose for them not taking anything with them was obviously so that they would have faith that he would supply all of their needs — and as we read the narrative, we assume that he did just that. But while Matthew, Mark and Luke record Jesus sending out the 12, none of them provide much detail of that experience. Come on, Matthew! You were there! Give us a little more insight! We don’t know how long they were gone, how many villages they visited, or even who they ministered to… but we do learn one very significant detail… “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Mark 6:12-13 NIV I think it’s safe to call that a successful short term mission trip! They had to be pumped, right? Demons dismissed… people healed… that’s Good Stuff!
As I was reading this narrative this past week it led me to ponder: Just what do I need in order to do ministry in Jesus’ name, and how often to do I miss opportunities because I assume that I require more than I actually need? How many times have I not spoken because I felt self-conscious? How often have I over-planned instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to move freely?
Jesus said, “Take nothing with you.” I think that means that he will supply what is needed.
You know, when the Holy Spirit prods you to share the Gospel with someone… how about we be like Nike and Just Do It! Having the biblical knowledge of Charles Spurgeon or the winsomeness of Billy Graham isn’t nearly as important as trusting the Holy Spirit to work through you and in that person’s heart. When we serve in ministry… perhaps we can lay aside the labels that lead us to hesitate and instead trust that God will use a willing heart.
I guess what I am truly pondering is maybe… just maybe… we have too high an opinion of what truly seems… well… gifted, while we marginalize God’s ability to use us, because maybe we think we are not… that… gifted. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that planning, studying and preparation are bad things… but we have the example of Jesus’ 12 that when His hand is in something… all we really need is Him!
So, speak out about Jesus! Serve willingly! Don’t worry about what you have, know or need, because the reality is… God has EVERYTHING and He needs NOTHING. “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT